The Arctic Cooling MCR1 IR Media Center Remote Control allows you to control all your Media Center functions from the comfort of your armchair. Featuring a standard Media Center layout, and compatibility with Media Center versions up to Windows 7, you get one touch access to your media.
|Price: (at time of writing)|
A pretty quick review this one, as there isn't much you can say about a remote control, other than if you have a Media Center set-up of some kind, you need one. Media Center PC's are fantastic ways of getting access to all your media from one location, be it downloaded video files, MP3 Music, home video's from your phone/camera, DVD and/or Blu-ray or any other type of media you can think of.
Windows 7 comes with Media Center as part of it's core programs in most versions, and there are plenty of other free programs out there that will use a Media Center remote and organise and display your media much like Media Center (XBMC, Boxee, MeediOS, etc.). But if you have to control it all from a keyboard and mouse, it just takes away a little of the ease and accessibility of these programs.
Media Center Remotes are nothing new, but this is the first we've seen from . The is designed for use with Media Center PC's (such as ) and is a standard Media Center Remote. Let's take a look at it.
|Signal Type||Infrared (IR receiver not included)|
|IR Range||Up to 8m|
|Infrared Protocol||RC – 6|
|Power||2 x AAA batteries (included)|
|Power Consumption||< 8 uA|
|System Requirement||Microsoft Windows 2000 / XP MCE2005 / Vista / 7|
|Compatible Software||MCE 2005, Media Center, Vista Media Center, Windows 7 Media Center; Winamp, Windows Media Player; KMPlayer, Media Player Classic, Power DVD, RealPlayer, WinDVD, Windows Media Player; WinDVR; PowerPoint, Internet Explorer, Adobe Reader|
|Dimensions (Product)||185 L x 55 W x 30 H mm|
|Dimensions (Packaging)||197 L x 56 W x 33 H mm|
|Product Net Weight||106 g|
|Gross Weight||0.7 kg|
You'll note in the specifications that the MCR1 doesn't come with a receiver. The only reason I'm pointing this out is because I never noticed this fact before receiving the MCR1. My own fault as it is clearly stated in the Technical Data on Arctic Coolings product page. It isn't however, marked on the packaging; it wasn't until we opened the box and read the instructions that it became clear no receiver was included. This is of course not going to matter to those who have Arctic Cooling's MC001 or some other Media Center PC with an inbuilt receiver. An Xbox 360 has a built in receiver too which the MCR1 works perfectly fine with.
The Box for the MCR1 is solid enough and has a half picture of the remote in almost full-size on the front. The rear and sides are used for multi-lingual explanations of the features of the MCR1.
Opening the box, we can see that the remote is further packaged in an almost clear plastic sheathe. Also included is a multi-lingual sheet of instructions and two Arctic Cooling branded AAA batteries.
The top of the remote has 8 buttons that provide power and shortcut access to functions in Media Center. From left to right, these buttons are – Power, Media Center, Radio, TV, Videos, Music, Pictures and DVD Menu.
Just below these buttons are a large circular button for navigation. This allows you to move from button to button within Media Center. You'll also note the Back, OK and Guide buttons.
Below this are the standard Media buttons for Stop, FFWD, RWD, etc.
Then comes the Volume, Play and Channel buttons.
Finally we have the keypad area. At the very bottom you'll note that the MCR1 clearly states it functions with Windows 7.
The batteries fit into the compartment at the lower end of the remote, and the compartment cover is both easy to open but without being loose or with any indication it might come loose during use accidentally. Since the batteries are in the lower part of the remote, this is where the weight of the remote is; this works well since its likely you'll have the weight in your palm.
Underneath the large navigation button, the remotes rear curve's nicely to provide an area for your fingers to sit comfortably in, allowing you to operate the remote with your thumb.
The MCR1 buttons do seem to require a little more pressure than you might expect. Naturally, this is going to be a subjective thing in that you'll either like that you can apply plenty of pressure and not worry about breaking it or accidentally pressing a button, or you'll dislike it for being more difficult to operate than other remote's. When you press a button, a red LED above the navigation circle lights up so you know you've pressed a button correctly.
The remote feels nice and solid in your hand and appears well constructed. It certainly works well with various receivers we tried it with; basically anything that can accept the RC-6 protocol that Media Center Remote's use should work with the Arctic Cooling MCR1. We tried it with a Media Center Remote receiver, a case with a built in Soundgraph receiver capable of using the RC-6 protocol and an Xbox 360 (as an extender). With all these devices the Arctic Cooling MCR1 remote worked perfectly.
In the case of non Media Center software, such as XBMC, assuming you can remap the functions/the program will accept Media Center Remote Control, then the MCR1 should work with it.
The is designed for use with Media Center PC's (such as ) and is a standard Media Center Remote. It fits nicely in your hand and operates as any Media Center remote does.
We did make the mistake of assuming that a receiver would be included with the , and we would like to see put this information on the outside of the packaging rather than as technical specification on the product page of their website.
The buttons of the require a little more pressure than most remotes we've come across, but for some people this will be a positive thing; it means you're unlikely to press a button by mistake.
The is listed on the website at $17.90 which isn't too bad of a price for what you get. If you like your remote controls to be a little tougher, and you already have a receiver for Media Center (perhaps an Xbox 360) then the might be what you're looking for.
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